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Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus Cinereus) | by Deepak Madangarli
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Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus Cinereus)

Brown Snake Eagle has dark brown overall appearance, large head and upright stance.Adult has dark brown plumage. Slight white mottling is visible on flight feathers. Underwing is silvery-grey. In fresh plumage, brown tail shows three narrow, white bars and a fine white tip. Head is dark brown, as body. Hooked bill is black with pale grey cere. Eyes are yellow. Long bare legs and stubby feet are pale grey. Both sexes are similar in plumage, with female slightly larger than male, about 5%.Juvenile is similar to adult, but some individuals may be slightly paler, or have fine pale feathers’ edges, giving a faint scaled effect. Head and breast show white feathers bases often conspicuous. Sub-adult is similar to adult, but we can see, at close range, fine, white bars and tips, or white mottling on flanks and vent. As juvenile, white feather bases on head and breast are often conspicuous. Chicks are covered with white down. Eyes are grey, becoming pale yellow. Cere and legs are almost white. Bill is pale grey.


Brown Snake Eagle lives in savannahs, woodlands and dry wooded countries with tall trees. It is uncommon in open plains. It breeds from sea level to 8.000 feet.


Brown Snake Eagle is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. It is non migratory, except in Senegal where it breeds and leaves after breeding season.

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Taken on December 26, 2011